Portland Trailblazers’ Festus Ezeli is expected to miss the entire training camp and most of the preseason to begin 2016-2017 NBA season.
Ananth Pandian reported on cbssports that the Blazers’ new addition at the center position has no specific timeline set for his return to action after having his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate to reduce the pain late August.
“I personally don’t have a timeline. I’m taking it day by day because when it comes to this situation, you never go with a timeline. It will frustrate me if I go by a timeline. I just try to take it by how I feel so hopefully sometime soon I can get back on the court and start playing again,” Ezeli said during a visit to a Boys and Girls Club in North Portland Thursday.
The Blazers have a number of options in Ezeli’s absence, including Mason Plumlee (starter), Meyers Leonard, Ed Davis, and Noah Vonleh. Regardless of that fact, Ezeli’s absence during training camp may hinder his integration on the court and his chances of fighting Plumlee for the starting position.
Knee injuries have limited Ezeli’s appearance in games since he came into the NBA. A right knee surgery put him out of action the entire 2013-2014 season. He also had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in February, forcing him to skip most of the second half of the 2015-2016 season.
Ezeli has been cautious about aggravating the knee – another reason he was unable to join the Nigerian National Men’s Basketball Team for the 2016 Olympic Games besides the country’s inability to provide adequate insurance cover to enable him participate.
In spite of the slow recovery, Ezeli continues to be optimistic about joining the team when the regular season begins:
“My knee is getting better. Wish I could be out there with my guys once training camp starts on Tuesday but it’s gonna take a little bit more for me to get to where I’m a 100 percent. I’m just going through the rehab process right now and hopefully by the end of it, I can come out and help my team this year.”